Premier League Week 1 Preview - 14/15 August - 2010/2011 Opening Weekend
A disappointing summer for English football will soon be firmly behind us once the new Premier League season gets underway in just a few days time.
Since the close of the 2009/2010 Premier League season, there has been plenty of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, the majority of action coming from big spending Manchester City, who have added David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng to a squad already oozing class as they look to improve on last seasons fifth place finish.
Liverpool’s failure to finish inside the top four last season saw the departure of Rafa Benitez. Capturing Joe Cole on a free transfer looks a shrewd signing by his successor Roy Hodgson and is sure to get the fans believing that a first Premier League title could be just around the corner.
Chelsea and Manchester United have dominated the Premier League in recent years and look set for another fascinating tussle. Neither side has been involved heavily in the transfer market this summer, with both managers clearly confident they have squads capable of conquering all this season.
The three sides who successfully gained promotion from the Championship last season, Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool will all be keen to consolidate a place in the top flight for next season. Newcastle and West Brom certainly know what it takes to succeed in the Premier League while it remains to be seen just how far Blackpool can go under the guidance of Iain Holloway.
It all gets underway at 12.45 on Saturday when Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham side take on Manchester City at White Hart Lane, a mouth watering encounter to kick off the season.
Tottenham successfully completed the double over Manchester City in the Premier League last season and it proved to be crucial with just three points separating the joy of a top four finish and the disappointment of finishing just one position lower.
Roberto Mancini will be hoping to gain revenge on Saturday having assembled what looks their strongest squad yet with the high profile additions of David Silva and Yaya Toure this summer.
Aston Villa fans across the country were shocked this week by the sudden resignation of Martin O’Neill just five days before they kick off their campaign against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon at Villa Park. While the board frantically search for a new manager, doubts still remain over the futures of influential duo James Milner and Ashley Young. West Ham United on the other hand are hopeful of an improved performance this season under new boss Avram Grant after a torrid campaign last year that so nearly ended in relegation to the Championship.
Everton suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal this time last season and will be looking to start this season in a more positive manner when they travel to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers.
Chelsea kick off their title defence against newly promoted West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. Baggies’ boss Roberto Di Matteo has made the difficult transition from player to manager with ease, securing promotion for the club in his first season in charge. He couldn’t have asked for a tougher first assignment though, as he returns to the club where he became a fan favourite in his six year stint at Chelsea.
Manchester United must wait until Monday night before they get their campaign up and running when they face Chris Houghton’s Newcastle at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson saw his side fall just one point short of Premier League glory last season. Despite this, arrivals have been kept to a minimal this summer although Mexican international Javier Hernandez looks an exciting prospect and could well form a title winning partnership upfront with Wayne Rooney.
Game of the weekend: Liverpool vs. Arsenal
The first edition of Super Sunday is sure to set a high standard for the season ahead with Liverpool and Arsenal both desperate to fly out of the blocks as they look to establish themselves as serious title challengers this season. Both sides saw their league form slump when star strikers Fernando Torres and Robin Van Persie were on the sidelines last season and their goals will be vitally important once again this term.
Blast from the past: Tuesday 21st April 2009: Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal
Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table after an injury time strike from Yossi Benayoun rescued a point in a thrilling encounter. Andrei Arshavin produced an astonishing individual display bagging all four goals for the Gunners, who let the lead slip on three occasions as a spirited Liverpool kept their slim title hopes alive thanks to a brace a piece from Fernando Torres and Benayoun.
On this day : 10 years ago – 2000/2001
Newly promoted Charlton quickly settled into top flight football with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Manchester City, while two late goals from Mario Stanic helped Chelsea on their way to three points, beating local rivals West Ham United 4-2.
Five years ago - 2005/06
West Ham United announced their return to the Premier League in style, coming from a goal down to beat Blackburn 3-1 at Upton Park. Fellow new boys Wigan suffered last minute heartache when Hernan Crespo scored in stoppage time to secure a narrow 1-0 victory for reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.
One year ago - 2009/2010
Tottenham’s quest for Champions League football next season began with an impressive 2-1 victory over Liverpool. It was to be a miserable weekend for both Merseyside clubs as an injury hit Everton side were handed a 6-1 drumming by a rampant Arsenal team at Goodison Park.
Week 1 fixtures
Saturday 14th August
Aston Villa vs. West Ham Utd – 15.00
Blackburn vs. Everton - 15.00
Bolton vs. Fulham - 15.00
Chelsea vs. West Brom - 17.30 - Live on ESPN
Sunderland vs. Birmingham – 15.00
Tottenham vs. Man City – 12.45 Live on Sky Sports
Wigan vs. Blackpool - 15.00
Wolverhampton vs. Stoke City - 15.00
Sunday 15th August
Liverpool vs. Arsenal – 16.00 - Live on Sky Sports
Monday 16th August
Manchester Utd vs. Newcastle Utd – 20.00 - Live on Sky Sports